In order to help monitor and show the effects climate change is having on the world around us, Google has teamed up with a number of global organizations to photograph various areas using its 360-degree Trekker camera. Using Street View in Google Maps, you can now take tours of a remote Manitoba habitat, some of the Amazonian rainforest and a Californian nature reserve…

From polar bears in the Canadian Arctic, to communities in the Brazilian Amazon, to blue oak trees in Central California, the impacts of climate change is being felt by plants, animals and people across the planet. As world leaders gather for the COP21 conference in Paris this week to discuss our changing climate, we want to take this opportunity to show you how to explore its impact yourself. With Street View, you can get a window into some of our world’s changing ecosystems, and learn how nonprofit and other organizations are working to keep our planet healthy.

Polar Bears International borrowed the 360-degree camera to monitor the ever decreasing amount of sea ice which polar bears rely on to travel every year. PBI monitored the polar bears around Churchill, Manitoba to share the habitat with people across the globe in a hope to raise awareness for the distinct lack of sea ice. What’s more, the company created a lesson plan and activities for schools, enabling classes to take their own virtual trips through the ecosystem while learning.

Other locations included Central California, where scientists are witnessing the detrimental effect of changing climates on its population of blue oak trees, and three different reserves in the Brazilian Amazon, where you can walk through miles of forests and even float down some of the Amazon river.

In more recent times, the Trekker has been used to add impressive Street View tours of impressive off-road locations. One of the most notable is the climb up El Capitan in Yosemite. There’s also an underwater trip, a camel trip across an Arabian desert and one along a canal skateway, all of which add a more personal element to Google’s Street View.

These Street View improvements are just a small part of Google’s drive to find out more about the state of our world.

Google Earth Outreach has worked with the Environmental Defense Fund to map methane leaks under some US streets and with Aclima to measure black carbon, carbon dioxide and particulate matter with its Street View cars. In Google’s words, they’ve turned the Street View cars in to pollutant sensing platforms, and will map its findings in Google Maps soon.


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